India Maintenance Base Part of Boeing Flight Plan

An investment of $100 million is announced for the fast-growing market. Boeing Co. plans to invest in a maintenance center and other facilities in India as its market grows there, a company official said Tuesday.

Chicago-based Boeing will sign an agreement to invest $100 million in building an aircraft maintenance facility in the western state of Maharashtra, Dinesh Keskar, Boeing's senior vice president of sales for South and Southeast Asia, said in a phone interview.

Boeing will invest an additional $85 million later to build a pilot training center and support facilities, he said.

Boeing says it expects the market for commercial planes in India to be worth $72 billion in 20 years.

Airlines in India, which placed $24 billion worth of orders for more than 200 planes last year, need facilities for training and aircraft maintenance as they expand their route network and fleets to meet rising demand for air travel.

Indian facilities can also help international airlines train their flight crews at lower costs than training centers abroad.

"We are trying to reduce the costs for airlines which operate Boeing airplanes," Keskar said. "Right now a lot of maintenance work is being done outside the country, and when that happens it costs foreign exchange and time."

Keskar would not disclose the exact location of the new maintenance center. But Press Trust of India reported earlier, citing unidentified officials, that it will be in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Boeing expects its center eventually will attract business from airlines in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Keskar said.

"My goal will be to create this facility which will be world class and people will say, 'Gee, if we can get our plane in there, that will be the best thing we can do,' " he said.

Boeing plans to spend another $75 million to build a simulated training center for pilots and $10 million for training support, Keskar said without giving more details.

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